You can be wrong every day of the week, and still make a reliable living...
During these precarious economic times there are very few professions that are recession-proof, like being an undertaker and an accountant.
Throw in “Russia watching” as well.
There is no downside to this particular trade. Being consistently wrong regarding Russia has never hurt the careers of journalists, academics or politicians. Actually, it usually ensures a very long stint in the game. You are allowed unlimited strikeouts with impunity!
Russia watching can provide serious job security, particularly if you are congenitally suspicious of Russians’ political, cultural and religious choices. Knowledge of the country, language, history and people are not necessary. Actually, any familiarity with Russia and its people is considered problematic.
Russia is one of those countries about which you must have a pre-ordained opinion; knowledge and facts only get in the way. As long as you make the claims – however exaggerated – that Russia is “bad” a “threat” and “dangerous” you can count on some longevity in the “Russia watching” world.
Instinctive dislike for Vladimir Putin is a plus! Some of the most stupid people in print and/or with a web presence have made a lucrative profession out of Putin-bashing.
At this point I am sure some readers are asking: If little knowledge is required, then where does one go for one’s facts to back up the “Russia is bad” thesis?
You are in luck – no real research required! Just read The New Republic, The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, Washington Post, The Telegraph, and the Financial Times. This is what most “Russia watchers” do.
If reading is a chore, then watch CNN (Crappy Network News), Fox, Al-Jazeera and BBC. All these networks say the same thing; only the English language accent is different.
If mindless TV is a pain, then you always have U.S. State Department press briefings (also known among those in-the-know as the “Union of Stenographers confab”). It is an open secret that if you simply repeat what Fiddle and Faddle at Foggy Bottom say, your “Russia watching” days are safe. You can go to the bank on it!
Those who make it big in the “Russia watching” world are hack academics who are from time to time made ambassadors. Also, self-loathing Russian immigrants residing in the West, are particularly convincing for western audiences.
Poorly educated and morally bankrupt journalists carry much of the water for biased coverage of all things Russia and Russians. They all know that deviation from the script would be lethal to their careers. It is no surprise that the unofficial motto of the “Russia watching” crowd is “create as much heat as possible, but never any light.” Or said differently: “Russia dumbed downed by dummies for dummies – never know anything, just have a visceral negative emotional reaction.”
The above is for the lazy and uninspired – let’s call them the junior varsity team. It’s a ticket to a steady paycheck and backslapping group think appreciation, meaning you have it made in the shade!
But there is a higher level to “Russia watching.” The true practitioners of this trade – think of Victoria Nuland and her scheming neocon husband Robert Kagan - depict Russia as America’s evil twin.
All of Washington’s sins are projected onto the Kremlin and America’s real and imagined enemies. While the JV team mindlessly repeats propaganda and worthless spin within the echo chamber, the true practitioners play the game of “bate and switch” (or don’t look at us – look at them!).
The true practitioners occupy the front row of “Russian watching.” When their policies fail they retreat into how all their actions are Russia’s fault (Ukraine is the classic example).
Looking for job security with little actual work involved?
Then sign up today, you have absolutely nothing to lose!